Haines Watts celebrates 90 years, a new office and a future in Slough

When Haines Watts was founded in Slough almost a century ago, George V was on the throne and Ramsay MacDonald was prime minister. Today, as the accounting firm marks its 90th anniversary and moves to newly refurbished office space in Slough, group managing partner, Michael Davidson, reflects on its history and growth

Roots in Slough

Despite the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, Haines Watts in Slough officially opened the doors of its new offices at 178 Buckingham Avenue, Slough in June 2020. It was still a momentous moment for a firm which has seen 90 years of progress, having been founded by Cyril Haines Watts back in 1930.

In its first decade, the firm endured the fallout of war, but grew as a business based on its reputation for being customer focused. Innovation and progress have always been at heart of the firm. In the 1960s, mechanised book- keeping was introduced and tax services added to the client offering. These developments helped cement the firm’s growth and by 1970 Haines Watts had established itself as a dominant force in the Thames Valley. This passion for owner-managed businesses, technology and innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit is still at the core of Haines Watts’ culture.

From humble beginnings, the firm has grown into the Top 15 firm it is today. Boasting 60 offices across the UK, with a workforce of more than 1,000 people, it is part of a global alliance that spans more than 100 countries.

Client commitment

Despite its evolution, Davidson, who was born and bred in Slough, has remained committed to the area and is optimistic for continued growth across the Thames Valley region.

He commented: “I started my working career with Haines Watts as a school leaver and worked my way through the ranks to group managing partner in 2018. Throughout my journey, there is no doubt Haines Watts has always had a unique DNA. Supporting business owners is a key part of this. It’s who we are and what we do.”

The firm’s resolute focus and 90 years of combined experience in advising individuals who own and run businesses means it offers a compelling proposition.

Davidson said: “We understand this market because we ourselves are business owners. That means we can deliver advice that helps our clients make better-informed decisions. Ultimately, we provide them with clarity that enables them to progress and achieve their ambitions in business but also their personal and family goals.”

Elaborating, Davidson commented that during the THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE – JULY/AUGUST 2020

Covid-19 pandemic he has been humbled by and proud of how partners and staff in Slough and across the firm have supported clients.

He added: “From the outset, our clients have relied on us to be a sounding board. They have shared their toughest moments and smallest victories. I believe that it’s because we genuinely understand what these business owners are going through, what their businesses mean to them, their staff and their families, that they open up to us. We have been empathetic and provided the emotional support they have needed.”

Davidson says it is testimony to the great talent and passion of the firm’s partners, that the team has been able to help clients examine actions they can take to manage the initial phase of Covid-19.

He added: “We constantly measure impact and support them with the steps they can take to adapt, and in most cases, recover.”

The Slough office has a significant number of long- standing clients – some of those business owners have remained loyal to the firm for around four decades. We have worked alongside them every step of the way,” said Davidson.

“It’s a great source of pride that both our clients and our business remain financially solid and are able to continue to drive recovery and support the many employees who depend upon us for their livelihoods.”

While the owner-managed market remains key for Haines Watts, the firm has adapted to take advantage of the unique opportunities presented in Slough and the Thames Valley region.

In particular, the Slough office has an established specialist capability in advising UK subsidiaries of overseas businesses. The location of Slough, its accessibility from London and key transport hubs still makes it attractive for inbound businesses.

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